Monday, June 9, 2008

Presentation and public speaking tips: A lesson from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is used to speaking in front of an audience of thousands, make that hundreds of thousands when you factor in YouTube. His skill as a presenter is envied by many and attained by few.

No matter how big or small your audience may be, you can deliver a speech or presentation like the great Steve Jobs. Earlier this year, Carmine Gallo, a BusinessWeek communications coach, broke down Jobs’ Macworld Conference & Expo keynote into a 10-part framework anyone can follow.

Set a theme. Jobs opened the conference, and set the overall theme by saying “There’s something in the air today.” He later hinted at the release of the MacBook Air laptop. Once you’ve determined your theme, Gallo advises repeating that theme a few times throughout your presentation.

Be enthusiastic. “Remember your audience wants to be wowed, not put to sleep.” Inject your own personality into a presentation and don’t skip the fun. If you don’t have enthusiasm for the subject, how can your audience have any?

Create an outline and share it. Let your audience know what you will be talking about and in the order they can expect it. “There are four things I want to talk about today ...” Keep your audience posted throughout the presentation as to where you are and how much they should expect to follow.

Try creating an unforgettable moment. Jobs used a demonstration of how the MacBook Air can fit inside a manila envelope, what can you build up to in your presentation?

Create visual slides. Leave out the data, text and charts. Instead, use meaningful images. “Inspiring presenters are short on bullet points and big on graphics.”

Show, don’t tell. Multimedia, product demonstrations, role playing and guest speakers can all enhance your presentation to help keep everyone engaged and awake.

Plan for mistakes. No matter how much you prepare, something can always go wrong. Try to make light of a minor mishap and move on.

Focus on benefits. Instead of focusing on product features, Jobs keeps the focus on benefits. “Your listeners are always asking themselves, ‘What’s in it for me?” Answer the question directly.

Practice makes perfect. If Steve Jobs has to practice, so do you. He makes his presentations look effortless because of the time he puts into rehearsing the material.

While none of us claim to be as skilled as Steve Jobs, everyone can learn a little something from his presentations. You can read Gallo’s full article and more from his weekly columns at BusinessWeek.

1 comment:

James said...

Great tips - especailly about being enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contageous when you speak and can really help you connect with yuour audience.


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